Friday, December 6, 2013

One Week Left in London!

Hey everyone, I'm sorry I haven't written a post lately, but school has been completely consuming me! Really fast I'd like to mention that I have been selected by the UMKC SEARCH department for a research grant! This means that beyond my normal amount of homework I also have research to complete at the British Library, museums, and Jane Austen related cities to visit that pertain to my research! I am so happy for the opportunity to represent the English department in a symposium next April to present my research findings. The other task that was weighing heavily on my shoulders lately was a speech for the entire CAPA faculty, staff and student body. I was representing UMKC and the Missouri-London program so I wanted this speech to really mean something. Luckily it went well and I am always happy for every chance I get to talk to people about my experience studying literature in London. Now, with only one week to go, I've got my bearings back and ready to tackle finals and visit all the last minute places in London. Today I'm going to write about the amazing places and things in the city that I'm going to miss so much!

These are images of the palces that I've been lucky enough to utilize for my research grant studying!
The city of Bath, home to the Jane Austen society and centre.

I'm going to miss simple and quick public transportation. After being abroad for four months driving my car is going to send me through reverse culture shock. Living in central London is a dream, and I'm definitely in a flat I would never be able to afford if it weren't already arranged through my school program! When local Londoners ask me where I'm living and I respond "Kentish Town rd, Camden" they get really jealous. CAPA has given their students beautiful apartments that are a one minute walk from the tube station and thirty seconds to a major bus stop. Public transportation also allows me to read everyday while I commute to Kensington. So I will definitely the London Underground

Our Camden Flats
The Underground
The most beautiful place on Earth, Harrods from the Brompton rd Underground exit.
King's Cross Station!

I'm going to miss the bookstores of London. There are hundreds of bookstores with hundreds of personalities. Some are kitschy, some are ritzy, some look like a hoarder runs the place while others are futuristic and immaculate. I love all of the bookstores and I wish there were more in Kansas City. Hatchard's, in particular is a store off of Picadilly and it is the official bookstore choice of Her Majesty the Queen. The inside of Hatchard's feels like the regal library of Downton Abbey. With it's mahogany shelves and gold painted labels, the old English feel is so prevalent in Hatchard's, it's no surprise that the store has been in business since 1797!

(These three photos are from google.)

I will also miss the markets of London. Markets are an interesting and integral part of the London culture. There are dozens of markets in this city and each is completely and distinctively difference from the next.  Our apartment is only steps away from one of London's most famous market, The Camden Markets. There are the Lock markets and the Stables. The stables have been transformed from obviously, old stables and the Lock markets are formed around canal locks and surrounded by weeping willows, street performers, punks, and musicians. The Camden markets are known for their punk persona and sell a lot of artistic crafts. My other favorite market is Coven Garden market. Some of the London markets have been functioning since the 13th century! Leadenhall market, which has been a trading and commerce space for hundreds of years underwent a beautiful facelift during the reign of Victoria and is still one of London's most beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and design.

Leadenhall Market

I am also going to miss the relationship that I have been able to form with my roommate Christina, and with my professor teaching over here from UMKC. Dr. Jenni Frangos was a professor of mine back at UMKC, she was my internship advisor and also my general English-major advisor. While in London we spent 6 hours a week together in school and many hours outside of the classroom exploring the city together. Because of the small class size (one-on-one, and two-on-one) in the Missouri London program the three of us, Christina, Dr. Frangos and myself were able to adjust class to meet the needs and whims of our weekly readings. We were able to actually walk to streets together and follow the pages of famous English novels. Dr. Frangos will forever be my mentor, my editor, and the woman I most dearly admire as an English scholar, and I am immensely lucky to have been able to study so closely with her this semester. Her knowledge of English literature is vast and her insistence to teach a "study abroad" class rather than a standard "UMKC" class was perfect for our learning style in London. Dr. Frangos always took full advantage of the city by informing Christina and myself of the cultural events pertaining to our studies, to the museums we can tour to enhance our learning, and the authors homes that are open for visits. Because of Dr. Frangos, two girls from Missouri were able to really delve into all the literature possibilities that London has to offer.

The following two photos are me after leading a tour of London according to Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders. My favorite element of my Missouri London classe is that Christina and myself lead the class on four different "site visitis" following the steps of famous fictional characters.

(Shamless Harry Potter plug)
Of all the things I will miss in London, they can't compare to how much I currently miss my family and because of that, I can't wait to get home to Kansas City and hug my little nephew, my mom, dad, mimi, and sisters! One week from yesterday I will be sleeping in my own bed and making future travel plans to keep on exploring!

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